Estate Planning: Lessons Learned
From Larry Hagman
Larry Hagman died in November of 2012 after complications with throat cancer. Hagman was best
known as an actor that portrayed oil baron J.R. Ewing on the drama "Dallas" from 1978 to 1991 and also
starred in the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie". There is several estate planning lesson that can be learned
from Larry Hagman.
The lesson about planning an estate is to take advantage of second chances and wake up calls. Hagman
had an acknowledged alcohol problem and drank heavily during his career as a television actor. He
claimed in a 1995 interview with People magazine that "the drinking sometimes made it harder to
remember lines, but I liked that constant feeling of being mildly loaded”. Later in his life, Hagman was
diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and required a life-saving liver transplant in 1995. Many times it
takes a health scare as a wakeup call for the average person to begin thinking about estate planning and
thinking about leaving a legacy behind. Many people do not get a second chance at life like Hagman did,
but once one is granted a reprieve from death there is no better time to acknowledge mortality and begin
planning. It is never too early to begin planning with at least a simple last will and testament, advance
health directives, and a durable power of attorney, and there is no right time to begin. Some health events
that one may suffer from may be more immediately fatal such as a heart attack or car accident that may
not leave time for a second chance like Hagman received. It is better to have estate planning documents in
place before they are needed and before it is too late to make them.
Another lesson that Hagman taught was to use his second chance to leave behind a legacy of charity and
good works. Hagman worked with American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout and the
National Kidney Foundation later in his life to raise awareness and help raise money for those causes.
Sometimes it is more important to leave behind a legacy that is not measured in dollars and assets as
memories of helping and giving can last longer than just leaving behind possessions. Hagman used his
health problems as a way to help others and teach other to be healthy and avoid the results that happened
to him. It would have been easy for Hagman to give up, but he will long be remembered for fighting on.
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Evan Guthrie Law Firm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of South Carolina. The Evan
Guthrie Law Firm practices in the areas of estate planning probate personal injury and divorce and family
law. For further information visit his website at http://www.ekglaw.com . Evan Guthrie Law Firm 164
Market Street Suite 362 Charleston SC 29401 843-926-3813